The reality of arts funding

by Megan Mooney

Sometime this week I read someone’s blog where they talked about what was involved in Arts funding and how complicated it was and so on.  I thought it was a great post.  I now can’t seem to find it.

So, could the blogger who wrote that please step forward so that I can repost their work?  *grin

I figured it out.  It’s on the blog that I have identified with the most while reading about arts funding cuts – One Big Umbrella.  Specifically the posts from MK Piatkowski.  She’s rocking my world these days.  So…

So, some bits that particularly stood out for me over the last little bit:

From The process of theatre funding:

We have to compete to get funding in the first place – most programs have a success rate of between 25-40%. We submit an outline of the project, objectives, a budget, and a marketing plan. Government funding can’t be more than 40% of the total in the budget, as a general rule. You have to report at certain milestones while you’re working on the project. After the project is completed, you have to submit an actual budget, attendance figures, any press, samples of marketing, outreach, and promotional materials, and an evaluation of the project which includes a synopsis, evaluation of goals, marketing, names of people involved and what you plan to do if you have a surplus over $100. You’re not eligible for future money until you’ve submitted your report.

From The Economic Argument:

The government is playing the economic card and the only way right now to even be heard is to play the card right back. Which means talking about art as investment – anything else is preaching to the choir. If we’re going to change the situation, we need to recognize what the concerns are out there right now, and it’s that people are seriously concerned about the economy and are afraid of losing their jobs. We’ll only be heard if we emphasize with people and address their concerns.

There are other really interesting articles on the topic, so I highly recommend you check out the blog and read them, you know, if it’s the kind of thing that interests you.

And my quick note about the economic argument, why are people loathed to treat theatre as a business?  If we want professional theatre to survive, it must be treated like a business.   Otherwise professional theatre will continue to fade into the background, leaving only amateur theatre to take it’s place – don’t get me wrong, I love amateur theatre and have been involved it a lot in the past, but there is something you get from people who are dedicating their life, their full time job to something, that you don’t get from someone who can rehearse 10 hours a week after work and on weekends.

Theatre has value, but it can’t just be warm fuzzy value.  We need to demonstrate the tangible value of theatre.  So, um, yeah, get to it, demonstrate that value…  (she says, not really being clear on how one would do such a thing…)  *grin*